San Diego, Here They Come . . .

What goes around, comes around, eh?

In 1972, the Republican National Convention was snatched from San Diego at the last minute. It wound up in Miami. San Diego felt robbed, and the loss became a civic sore point and low benchmark. And in bitter reaction, civic leaders proclaimed their town “America’s Finest City.”

That’s all in the past now.

Key GOP sources say San Diego is the nearly certain choice for 1992. The final decision, as in 1972, probably has more to do with politics than a city’s qualities. Both of 1992’s other finalists, Houston and New Orleans, have GOP albatrosses: Texas’ Democratic Gov.-elect Ann Richards is no favorite of President Bush; and Louisiana legislator--and possible 1992 gubernatorial candidate--David Duke is a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.


All that stumbling is to San Diego’s great advantage. And if the convention can indeed be staged with only private donations, the economic benefit to the city should be $50 million to $100 million. Not bad. And it will be a boost to all of Southern California, which has hosted only one national political convention in 160 years. If San Diego does a first-class job, the region will have two major cities to contend for future conventions.

The fact that San Diego is so mainstream Republican will apparently cancel out the drawbacks that the city is putting up no money and splitting the event between the downtown Convention Center and the stadium.

Republicans also know that “America’s Finest City” is a grand place to hold a party.